Kansas City Chiefs Bye Week Awards 2022: Offensive Rookie of the Year

There are seven games in the books — and 10 more to go. While we may not be right at the halfway mark of the 2021 regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs are taking their bye week in Week 8, so it’s a good time to dish out some midseason awards.

The Arrowhead Pride writing staff members each had one vote for our seven midseason awards. There are 11 contributors, so there will be 11 votes tallied for each award. In this post, we’ll reveal our best offensive rookie to this point of the season.


Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

VOTING: RB Isiah Pacheco (11)

It was no secret the Kansas City Chiefs’ draft class of 2022 would undoubtedly have the eyes of the Kingdom glued to their television sets. Having said the agony of losing one of its prolific players for a King’s ransom, how would the Chiefs spend the draft capital?

Tyreek Hill was arguably one of the most significant pieces of head coach Andy Reid’s high-speed offense, and it was now down to the Chiefs general manager Brett Veach to re-arm an NFL superpower that was seemingly weakened by the departure of just one of its star players.

It was clear from the first two picks of the 2022 NFL draft that the Chiefs were focusing on the defense to combat the arms race of superstars that were being shipped to the AFC West. Veach was preparing to hunker down, dig in and prepare the Chiefs for a new age of heavy artillery being aimed toward them — or so we thought?

Much to Chiefs Kingdom’s relief, Veach bode his time well and selected wide receiver and first-round prospect Skyy Moore in the second round, a position that Chiefs fans so desperately wanted. Somehow Veach’s patience paid off yet again!

When the Arrowhead Pride team was asked to make their nominations for the midseason offensive rookie of the year at the start of the season, I couldn’t see anyone else other than Skyy Moore receiving this accolade. After all, Moore is a high draft pick, has huge talent with hands the size of shovels, and from what we’ve seen so far from his limited snaps, there are a lot of positives that will no doubt get the fans’ steak juices flowing… no punt returns intended (sorry, I’ll get my coat.)

But the Chiefs 2022 draft story doesn’t end there.

As we have seen over the last three draft classes, Veach and his army of scouts have seemed to pluck value players from thin air in the later rounds and implement them instantly as starters –

2019 cornerback Rashad Fenton – 6th round

2020 defensive back L’Jarius Sneed – 4th round

2021 offensive guard Trey Smith – 6th round

…which brings us nicely to this year’s “diamond in the rough” and Arrowhead Pride’s midseason offensive rookie of the year: running back Isiah Pacheco.

At the time of writing, the Chiefs have recently disposed of the San Francisco 49ers, 44-23 in their backyard, but right before the game, Pacheco found himself in the headlines when it was announced that he would be the starting back for the Chiefs, which sparked a huge “gold rush” for fantasy owners everywhere.

Let’s be brutally honest here: Pacheco’s overall numbers for the season so far are not blowing the ink off the page (192 yds, 4.9 avg), but it would be wrong to make our assessment by just looking at the overall numbers alone, especially when comparing a rookie that has landed in a strong running back stable filled with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerrick McKinnon and Ronald Jones, without drilling down into some of Pacheco’s most impressive games so far.

At the start of the season against the Arizona Cardinals, Pacheco introduced himself to the Kingdom with 12 carries for 62 yards (5.17 average) and a rushing touchdown. He saw his carries reduce dramatically against the Los Angeles Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts (two and three carries, respectively) before launching himself back into the limelight again versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 11 carries for 63 yards (5.73 average) before – you’ ve guessed it – his carries dropped dramatically once again to only one or two carries against the Las Vegas Raiders and the Buffalo Bills. The running back-by-committee approach by Andy Reid is obviously in full swing with a lot of mouths to feed.

Let’s also consider Pacheco’s most recent outing against the 49ers. Pacheco led the team in rushing with eight carries for 43 yards (5.38 average), and you’ll notice that we start seeing a pattern forming.

In those three games where Pacheco had eight or more carries, he averaged approximately 5.43 yards, and when you also bear in mind that two of those opposing teams – Tampa Bay and San Francisco — had top-five defenses at the time of the game, you start to appreciate the hard work that Pacheco is putting in.

Volume is clearly key for Pacheco, and this will no doubt increase after having received the green light from Andy Reid to be more involved with his aggressive downhill running style, something that has been lacking somewhat in the Chiefs’ running game of late.

The buzz around Chiefs Kingdom when Pacheco is in the backfield is very similar to the rookie season of Jamaal Charles, a player I still regard as my favorite Chief of all time. I’m not saying that after just eight weeks Pacheco is the new “King Charles,” but there are similarities within the statistics and style of play from both of their rookie seasons… Oh, and I almost forgot to point out that Pacheco and Charles almost have the same 40-yard dash times – 4.37 – give or take a hundredth of a second.

ARROW. I may be trying to speak it into existence while wearing my red-tinted spectacles with that last comment, but it’s no secret Chiefs fans love their running backs and more importantly, they love players that work hard for the team and strive for every inch they can gain.

Isiah Pacheco fits that mold with his angry runs and his ability to cut into gaps with excellent vision. Look out NFL — there’s a new Chiefs No. 10 in towns!

poll

Who is your bye-week offensive rookie of the year?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.